Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hedging Bets

One of my neighbors came over and proposed that she and a group of neighbors wished to help me trim my hedge border on Saturday. I explained to her that I would be working three 12-hour shifts back-to-back an hour away, and I would be in no shape to be up early working in the yard. She said they were ok with that but she had 6 volunteers to help. I was really not happy about being pushed into doing the work at the convenience of others when I knew how tired I would be, but all my work friends said, hey, let them help, free labor and they're asking you. Another reason to be embarrassed- my yard looks so bad my neighbors want to fix it.
The border is lilac trees, set out about 40 years ago by the family who lived here. I have the boys cut back the stray saplings every fall, but we didn't get to it last year and there was so much storm damage over the winter. Multiple limbs were dead and hanging and it really did look atrocious. I have daylilies- some original and some donated by a neighbor- under the lilacs.
In the corner is my quince bush, which you couldn't get to. (My former house had a whole border of quince, which I loved and missed horribly when I moved- then, in spring, up popped one lonely old quince under the lilacs. I considered it an omen at the time.)
I woke around 11 am on Saturday and the crew had been hard at work since 10:30- and I never heard them. One neighbor brought his truck to haul the debris to the dump. The other brought tools- saws, clippers, secateurs, ladders. They had already cut down a number of the older, split lilacs and were busy as bees. I brought out water, took a quick cup of tea, and joined them. I ordered mulch from a local supplier to be delivered late afternoon. It was a hot, clear day, well into the eighties. We had ash, mulberry, hawthorne, catalpa and maple saplings invading the lilacs. One neighbor focused on pulling the weeds from the daylilies and the rest of us hacked away at the branches. By one pm, three truckloads of limbs and brush had been carted off to the brush dump.
OK- so it's pretty overgrown...

Getting another load ready for the brush dump.

All together now...


Nearing the end- making the tops even.

It was so hot. Staying hydrated was an effort. Most folks quit around 2 pm, and I kept going a while. I had to sit and re-hydrate for a while- my asthma made it hard for me to breathe after exerting myself. When I came back out, my last neighbor took her break. She had leveled all the trees at about 6 feet high, just to even them out, thinking they'd look better.
The guy came with the mulch and just dumped it in the driveway, so my neighbor came back out again. I started laying it out around all the daylilies and lilacs. I had put in a border of pavers, but she showed me how to make a clean line with a pickaxe so the mulch rested just inside. I ended up putting yet another load of brush on the lawn that will get carted off to the dump someday soon. It took a few more hours to lay down the mulch and it just wore me out completely. My friend borrowed a weed-whacker and set to on what should be a lawn but is a semi-dead collection of various weeds. I begged her to stop because I could do no more and finally she did around 7 pm.
It was really incredible of my neighbors to do this for me. I felt guilty for being so tired and unable to be energetic and do a lot. But, as my neighbor said, it was in their power to do it and they did. It was that simple.
I took a few pictures early in the day, and a few at the end. This is what my hedge looks like after the "decimation" as the neighbor's daughter called it.

Why look- the quince is visible now that the dead trees are gone!

Mulch on the corner.

Nice and even on the street side.

My shadow is as long as the day seemed- but it looks so much better!

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